25 May, 2021
AgForce vital to agreement on Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate funding for drought affected farmers
AgForce has welcomed the news that the Federal Government and Queensland State Government have agreed to jointly fund the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme (EWIR) for primary producers affected by drought.
AgForce has been at the heart of lobbying the State and Federal Governments to ensure a long running standoff between the two levels of government would end so that Queensland’s farmers can get on with the job of leading us in our post-COVID recovery.
The EWIR is designed to address immediate animal welfare needs and, importantly, help improve the resilience of properties to future drought.
Despite recent rain across Queensland, as of March, more than 67 per cent of the State was still in drought.
AgForce CEO Michael Guerin said he was happy to see the State and Federal Governments put party politics aside in what is a significant win for the agricultural producers of Queensland.
“I am pleased that our long-term work with the State Government on developing a new drought policy is beginning to bear fruit,” Mr Guerin said.
“AgForce has been strongly representing our members and the broader Queensland agriculture industry for more than 12 months on this issue, initially raising concerns in May 2020 that the Federal Government had not renewed its contribution of funding to the long-running, successful, Queensland scheme.
“The agreement announced today between the State and Federal Governments means Queensland producers can effectively invest in water infrastructure both for now, during drought, and to better prepare, respond to, and recover from any drought in the future.
“Drought recovery should never be a political issue. Anyone who has lived through even a few months of drought knows how devastating it can be to the land, livestock, and to communities.”
Mr Guerin said AgForce had also welcomed the State Government’s decision to co-fund dam desilting, an important activity that stores water efficiently when rainfall increases, and seasons improve.
“The next steps now are for the funding hit the areas where it’s most needed,” Mr Guerin said.
“We’re excited to see the positive impacts it will have on producers who in some cases have been battling drought for almost a decade.
“So we look forward to seeing the results, to continuing to work with all sides and all levels of Government, and with the rural and regional communities who still have the long, often challenging road of recovery ahead of them.”